The following article is a guest post.
When was the last time you gave yourself a little grace?
What that means is simply choosing to treat yourself with the same care, kindness, and willingness you treat other people you have relationships with, be they friends, family, or spouses.
So many of us are much harder on ourselves than we would be on anybody else.
While setting goals and holding yourself accountable is important to success, beating yourself up and squashing moments of vulnerability and feeling ‘less than’ can take you two steps back.
Self-care plays an important role in showering yourself with love and attention, and this doesn’t mean using all your savings up on a shopping spree. Self-care is much more basic than that, and there is no better time to dive into it than summer.
Check out these fun and creative self-care ideas:
Get Some Sun.
Soaking up some rays shouldn’t be a simple afterthought of your pre-scheduled summer plans like going to a festival or taking a hike.
Laying out or even simply sitting on your porch with the sun shining in, embracing the warmth and light, beckons reflection and actually boosts your health.
Your body converts the sun’s rays into Vitamin D which helps your cells absorb calcium to keep bones strong as well as potentially helps prevent some chronic diseases.
Of course, practice good sun safety and wear sunscreen and protective gear for extended sun exposure.
Self-care truly finds itself in mindfulness-cultivating practices like yoga.
Based on foundational principles of self-awareness and kindness, yoga is a self-care practice which can be done at home (stream free instructional videos online) or at a studio or gym near you.
When work, relationships, and the general chaos of the world around you starts to seep in, self-soothing can play an important role in helping you feel in control, calm, and and strong.
A gentle foot massage with your favorite lotion, a warm bubble bath, listening to relaxing music – all of these simple, small actions can add up to a big difference in your own perspective of self-love and worth.
Bring some color into your space this summer by, well, coloring!
This seeming ‘fad’ is sticking around as coloring has proven to be a calming, enjoyable activity for adults which also helps reduce stress.
By tapping into the creative and artistic side of the brain, coloring helps kids of all ages concentrate on positive thoughts and images while they themselves create something beautiful.
Take it up a notch by hosting a coloring party with friends where you can color, eat, and enjoy one another’s company together.
Scents have a powerful ability to affect mood, concentration, and memory.
Try a little aromatherapy this summer by burning a candle with a scent you love while you go about daily chores, or diffuse essential oils with an aroma diffuser (look online or in most big box stores).
Essential oils including lavender, sandalwood, and frankincense have been shown to aid feelings of stress, depression, and anxiety while peppermint, rosemary, eucalyptus, and sage promote focus, mental clarity, and memory.
When was the last time you played? Not an instrument, not a sport, but just fun, goofy, uninhibited play?
Maybe it’s rolling around with your dog on the floor, joining your kids on the playground, or being completely and totally silly with your partner.
For many adults, they miss out on the fun of play because they are so caught up with “adulting’ and self-medicating to handle all the adulting. Play can be quite freeing and even for just a few minutes a day, can spark a new love of life.
Get around to giving yourself a little relief from chronic pain – whether it’s in your back, your wrist, your mind, you name it.
Maybe it’s finally seeing a doctor about your knee pain, getting a massage for your back pain, scheduling a counseling session with a therapist, or saying no to your constant wrist pain and springing for the best carpal tunnel brace you can find.
Pain can weigh on you more than you know, and when you cut yourself some slack and take steps towards finding real relief, you’ll feel lifted like never before.
It may not sound the most altruistic, but helping others does wonders for helping yourself.
In addition to aiding others and giving back to your community, the very act of positively impacting another person’s life fosters a sense of purpose, confidence, and basically, gives you warm fuzzies.
Don’t have time to volunteer? Donate to a charity instead or find a blood donation event near you and sign up to save lives.
Self-care doesn’t have to be giant, sweeping acts of loving yourself. Even the smallest actions, committed with intention and grace, can add up to a big difference for YOU this summer.